Monday, 27 March 2017

500 BC Celtic tomb reveals Gold

In 2015 French archaeologists completed excavations of an ancient burial site revealing the decorated skeleton of a Celtic prince. The tomb was discovered in an industrial area of Lavau, a village near Troyes, about 150km southeast of Paris.

The finding was described as "extraordinary" by experts. Buried with a two-wheeled chariot, the body is believed to be a high-ranked aristocrat from the so-called Hallstatt culture that dominated central Europe during the Early Iron Age.

The skeleton sported ancient pieces of jewellery including a richly decorated gold torque weighing more than half a kilogram and gold bracelets.

Remains of the deceased's clothing, such as shoe parts, finely worked amber beads that formed a necklace or hair decoration, and iron and coral hooks that attached to a piece of clothing were also retrieved.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Mummies Revealed

Now at the American Museum of Natural History, a new “Mummies” exhibition explores how two civilizations on opposite sides of the globe, ancient Egypt and pre-Columbian Peru, both embraced mummification.

Though mummies are linked to Egypt, it was Peru’s Chinchorro people who first began mummifying their dead, some 7,000 years ago. The Gilded Lady has a face adorned with a thin layer of gold. CT scanning reveals she likely died in her 40s of tuberculosis, and had curly hair and an overbite.
The headdress is made of cartonnage, a papier-mâché like substance made from glued layers of papyrus or linen, then covered with gilding, a thin layer of gold. Ancient Egyptians believed the gold would enable the person’s eyes, nose, and mouth to stay intact for the afterlife. The golden skin was used to show divinity because after death, she would be transformed into the god Osiris, who had skin of gold.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Crusader-era Gold found off coast in Northern Israel

Thirty gold coins were found amid the remains of a Crusader-era shipwreck discovered off the coast of Acre in northern Israel. The city of Acre sits on Israel’s Mediterranean coast, just north of Haifa. In the 13th century it was one of the most important strongholds left to European Crusaders in the Holy Land. Archaeologists dated the shipwreck's wood to 1250 A.D. But the golden coins showed that the ship likely sailed later than that. The coins were golden florins, minted in Florence, Italy, starting in 1252. The ship must have sailed sometime in the last half of the 13th century.

Crusader Fortress : Old City of Acre – Northern Israel
At the siege of Acre, as Christians made a desperate attempt to flee the city, the knights made their doomed last stand.

As the Mamluks of Egyptian sultan Al-Ashraf Khalil were digging tunnels to get inside, the castle’s foundation collapsed, burying the doomed Templars. The sultan’s flag soon flew over Acre, and the Egyptian forces systematically dismantled the Crusader city, leaving its seaport in ruin.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Gold hoard found stuffed in old piano

An old piano, made by Broadwood & Sons in London in 1906 contained far more than the new owners bargained for ... a hoard of gold coins dating from 1847 to 1915.

The oldest coin in the hoard dates back to 1847, and bears the face of Queen Victoria. The hoard's true value is unknown but is described as a 'life-changing sum of money’.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Ancient Egyptian statue exported from UK

A 4,000-year-old Egyptian statue, controversially sold by a local council for £15.76m, had been blocked from export by the government in the hope it could be kept in the UK.

The statue of Sekhemka, a limestone figure 75cm high, was given to Northampton Museum by the Marquess of Northampton in the late 19th century. There was outrage when Northampton borough council sold it at auction through Christie’s in London last year to an unidentified overseas buyer. It went for almost £10m more than the guide price, breaking the record for ancient Egyptian art at auction. The statue is now believed to be in the U.S.

The culture minister, Ed Vaizey, announced a four-month temporary export bar on the figure, which dates from c2400BC and is considered the finest example of its kind anywhere in the world and of “outstanding aesthetic importance”. Arts Council England said the ban would be extended for a year until March 2016 “if a serious intention to raise funds to purchase the statue is made”.

The Sekhemka statue is a tomb model of a high official, wearing a short kilt and tight-fitting wig, surrounded by his wife, son and seven offering-bearers. He holds a papyrus on his knees on which are inscribed a list of offerings designed to serve the needs of the dead, including beer and cakes.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Sekhmet 'The Powerful One'

Archaeologists have discovered 66 fragments and statues of Sekhmet believed to have been warding off evil from Amenhotep III’s temple. Amenhotep III’s reign, between 1386 to 1349 BC, is regarded as the peak of Egypt’s prosperity, power and splendour.
A toppled black granite statue of Amenhotep III was also found at the site.
The statue of Amenhotep shows the king as a young man and is thought to have been commissioned during his reign. Pharoah Amenhotep III became a king at the age of 12, when he inherited an empire spanning from Euphrates to Sudan.

His temple is being preserved and rebuilt as part of a government approved renovation project which began in 1998.
Sekhmet, often called “the powerful one” is the daughter of Egyptian sun god Ra and was believed to ward off evil and ill health. Her influence was powerful on the Egyptians. Some statues depict her standing and holding the symbol of life – a sceptre made of papyrus.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

The Monster of Troy

A strange, menacing creature lurks on one of the ancient Greek vases in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The scene is painted on the vase ... a Corinthian black-figure krater dating to between 560 and 540 B.C. It is the oldest illustration of the ancient legend of the Monster of Troy.
In Greek myth, a terrible sea monster suddenly appears on the Trojan coast, where it causes great destruction. To appease the giant beast, the king of Troy, Laomedon, sends his daughter Hesione as a sacrifice. At the last moment Hercules arrives to slay the monster and rescue the princess.

The vase shows Hesione and Hercules fighting the monster. Hesione throws rocks from a pile at her feet. Hercules shoots a volley of arrows, one of which has hit the monster’s chin.
Some have suggested that the Monster of Troy resembles a Plesiosaur, a Mesozoic marine reptile. Plesiosaurs are amoung the largest marine apex predators in the fossil record.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Leadership lessons from Julius Caesar

Today is the 'Ides of March', a historic date that represents the murder of Caesar and the moment when the Roman Republic morphed into the Roman Empire.

After a brief war with Pharnacles II of Pontus, Caesar had to write a report to Rome detailing his conquest. The commander didn't go into much detail, writing: "I came, I saw, I conquered." The sound bite proved so catchy that we still remember it to this day, centuries later.
In ancient Rome, crossing the Rubicon River with an army was tantamount to a declaration of war and could be punishable by death. When Caesar crossed the Rubicon with his legion on January 10, 49 BC, he put everything on the line. Suetonius writes that Caesar quoted an Athenian playwright as he crossed the river, declaring "the die is cast."
Caesar once wrote that "in war, events of importance are the result of trivial causes."

In his chronicle of the Gallic Wars, Caesar concludes that: "in most cases men willingly believe what they wish" when describing a tactical mistake on the part of his Gallic enemies.
Caesar writes: "The immortal gods are wont to allow those persons whom they wish to punish for their guilt sometimes a greater prosperity and longer impunity, in order that they may suffer the more severely from a reverse of circumstances."

As a young man, Julius Caesar was abducted by pirates. When the pirates demanded a ransom of twenty talents, Caesar burst out laughing. They did not know, he said, who it was that they had captured, and he volunteered to pay fifty. Caesar went on to promise the pirates that he'd personally kill them once he was free. After he was ransomed, he raised a fleet, hunted them down, and did exactly what he promised.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Colossal 3,000-year-old statue unearthed in Cairo

A team of archaeologists has discovered a giant 3,000-year-old statue thought to depict Ramses II, in what the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities is describing as "one of its most important archaeological discoveries." The head and torso will be moved to the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza, which is due to open in 2018.
Archaeologists from Egypt and Germany began removing the quartzite statue -- estimated to stand 30 feet tall -- from the ground in Matariya, greater Cairo.

Ramses II, known as the "Great Ancestor" to his descendants, ruled for 66 years from 1279 to 1213 BC as part of Ancient Egypt's 19th dynasty.